Everything begins with an idea. The creative urge of ideas have brought enormous change and progress to our world during the past one hundred years. The industrial revolution brought new divisions of labor. Locomotives were conceived, built and put to work. Automobiles were multiplied. Farm tractors, the cotton gin, the grain reaper&emdashall revolutionized our food and clothing production. From Thomas Edison's light bulb to Henry's model T Ford car, to Kitty Hawk, where a couple of bicycle repair men, Orville and Wilbur Wright, built and flew the first airplane, technology has flooded the planet during the past one hundred years. There are even yet a few centenarians alive who remember some of these "firsts." The knowledge of mankind has exploded during this century, yet there is still something missing today, even "as . . . in the days of Noah."
by Jerry Gentry
"For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Mat 24:38-39).
It is a pleasant day on the plain. There is no burning sun or wind or rain, no storm cloud in the sky. Noah and his three sons have been working now for a very long time&emdashlonger than the age of the oldest man on earth today. They have worked longer than there have been cars or airplanes, longer than from the time the McCormick reaper first gathered grain, longer than from the time of the first rolling mill that made white flour, longer than from the time of the first telephone call or light bulb or radio.
The last board has now been fitted, and the log cutters have put their axes neatly away. The pitch buckets are all empty. The carpenters are finished. The project has been 120 years in the making. Noah is relieved now that his work has come to a fruition.
There sits the ark, as long as a football field, and nearly as wide, with story on top of story stepping skyward. A door with perhaps a ramp faces outward, the only opening except a window. Tens of thousands of man hours have gone into building this vessel, "by the which he [Noah] condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Hebr. 11:7). Visitors curiously inspect the vessel. Sightseers gawk at it. There the ark sits, and not a single drop of rain has fallen.
In fact, it is a ridiculous sight, to all but Noah and his family. No one else in the whole world understands. "Why have you built that big boat out in the middle of nowhere? Where do you expect to go in it?" sightseers scoff? "A coming flood? That's impossible! It has never happened before. Ha! Ha! Hah! Hahhh! Noah, you are a crazy man!" Noah is "a preacher of righteousness" (2Pet. 2:5), all right. And they understand his message, but choose to ignore it. They choose not to take heed, because they have other ideas, other priorities. They all heard and watched Noah for 120 years. Surely a few dozen of these people will repent now, you would think. No. They every one choose to go on living the life of ease, thereby "bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly" (2Pet. 2:5).
"They. . . knew not. . . until the flood came, and took them all away" (Mat 24:38-39). Do you know what is about to happen to your world today? Do you see your future, by faith?
"And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Luke 17:26).
Lot is a man torn in his life vision. He has lived in close fellowship with Abraham, his uncle, for much of his life. Then one day comes when he casts his eyes over the lush, fertile plain of Jordan toward Sodom and Gomorrah. There his wife falls in love with the big city. There Lot raises four daughters. There he is "vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked" (2Pet. 2:7). There he daily experiences the depravity of open homosexuality. There he sacrifices his unmarried daughters to the god of lewdness. His sons in law scoff at the report of impending divine judgment and doom. There he and his wife with their remaining two unmarried daughters are finally warned severely and literally dragged out of the city, by an angel of God. His wife looks back, and turns to a pillar of salt.
"Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
"But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
"Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed" (Luk 17:28-30).
"As. . . in the days of Noah." "As it was in the days of Lot."
Do you know what is about to happen to the world you live in? Is God calling you out of modern Sodom and Gomorrah? Are you building your ark of preservation and protection, by faith? Is the angel of the LORD beckoning you to prepare for God's great judgment of wrath and fire upon a wicked generation? Are you vexed, as brother Lot was vexed, at the outlandish sins openly committed as a way of life around you? Or do you join in the service of sensuality? Do you lack moral and spiritual interests?
There is a story in the Bible about ten virgins, five wise and five foolish. That story is much the same as the story of Noah; much the same as that of Lot. It is the story of too little, too late. It is the story of salvation for some who are hidden in the ark of God, who flee Sodom and Gomorrah in time, who have built their ark of preservation. It is the story of destruction for others who put off today what they think they will get around to doing tomorrow.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
"And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
"They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
"But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
"While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. (Matt 25:1-5).
The church today is mostly asleep, mostly settled on its lees, satisfied with God's great blessings, waiting for the rapture, yet ill prepared for the coming time of Jacob's trouble and great tribulation. "(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day" (Rom. 11:8).
How many people do you know who are now preparing for hard times ahead? Instead, there is mostly a party spirit, an 'eat, drink and be merry' attitude, throughout the modern church. The Christian world says, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and [that church] knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Rev. 3:17). Are you part of the remnant who are awake? Are you a wise virgin or a foolish virgin? Do you have oil in your lamp? How can you know for sure?
"And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
"Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps" (Matt 25:6-7). Yes, they all trimmed their lamps. Certainly when that final midnight cry is heard, many will then be busy in prayer and Bible study, even if they neglect such spiritual priorities now.
There is only one problem with the kind of Christian who has no oil:
"And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out" (v. 8). The five foolish virgins do not have God's Spirit. They are unconverted Christians. They go to church, pray, sing, and say amen. Yet they neglect the Spirit in their personal lives. "Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out," they say. Think about what this means. Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Having no oil means having no Holy Spirit.
How is it that these five foolish virgins have no oil, no Spirit? Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). Having no oil is having no words of Scripture in the vessel of your lips. When you have no oil of the Word of God on your lips, though your wick be trimmed, your lamp will burn out. Your wick of salvation by good works will burn to ashes. Brother and sister, do you speak Scripture? Do you talk about the Word of God. Good thoughts are not oil. Words are oil. Do you say, "It is written?" then do you make scripture operational in your life by speaking words from the Holy Bible in your conversations with others? Do you exercise yourself to make a good confession of your faith? Are you "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1Pet. 3:15).
Jesus always said, "It is written." He spoke scripture. It is your job to do the same, if you will be a wise virgin. If not, you are a foolish virgin. You may be trimming your wick by going to church and performing outward good works. But if the word of God is not in your heart and flowing out your lips, you have no oil, and your lamp will burn out. Without oil, your wick will burn to ashes. Without oil, you are an unsaved Christian, destined for the burning flames of hell, even though you be baptized, go to church and do good works.
"But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves" (Mat 25:9).
Yes, these foolish virgins will take the mark of the beast. They must buy and sell during that midnight cry right before the wedding feast.
"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready [the virgins with oil in their lamps] went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut" (Mat 25:10). Every lamp with oil gives light to the world, as a city set on a hill. "It giveth light unto all that are in the house" (Matt. 5:15).
"Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
"But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you [the foolish virgins with no oil], I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." (v. 11-13).
"As. . . in the days of Noah." "As it was in the days of Lot." As in the days of ten virgins, five wise and five foolish. Here are three examples, which make one lesson for each of us today.
Are you hearing and heeding this great lesson? Have you gotten serious about the Word of God? Will you be caught as the whole world was caught, "as. . . in the days of Noah?" Will you doubt? Will you fail to heed the warning, believe the gospel and make ready now? Will you be like those who waited until the rain was falling and the water was rising up, higher and higher, first to the ankles, then to the knees, then waist and neck, before you cry out to God? It is too late then.
Will you be caught, like Sodom and Gomorrah, "as it was in the days of Lot?" Will you be like Lot's sons in law who scoffed to the very end. Will you begin crying out to God, as those sons in law cried, only after the fiery balls of brimstone were crashing down all around them. It was too late then.
Will you go to church, pray, sing, say amen, like the five foolish virgins who have no oil? Will you wait until the midnight cry goes out, trim your lamp, then discover that you have no oil, none of God's words flowing out the vessel of your lips by making a good confession of your faith? It is too late then. Better, will you buy oil now, fill your heart with his word, and thereby have lips full of the oil of God's Holy Spirit, who always speaks the Words of God? Then you are a wise virgin. You are readying yourself daily for the coming great tribulation.
"As. . . in the days of Noah." "As it was in the days of Lot." Even as it is in the days of ten virgins who are all together in the church of God. Only five are destined for the kingdom. Only five are putting oil in their lamps. The other five are destined for the lake of fire, because they have no oil, no Words of Scripture in their lips. These foolish virgins never make a confession of their faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for them personally. Apparently, they do not personally know Jesus Christ. Are you personally a servant of Jesus Christ, friend? Which kind of virgin are you&emdashfoolish or wise?
"As. . . in the days of Noah." "As it was in the days of Lot." As in the days of ten virgins, five wise and five foolish, who are trimming their wicks, awaiting the coming of the Master. Jesus Christ tells all ten virgins: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev. 3:22).
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Mat 10:32).
The most subtle and diabolical form of denial is silence, the absence of a positive confession of faith. Has Jesus Christ saved you, brother and sister? If so, would you share that saving grace with someone today? What verse of scripture have you applied inwardly today? Are you too cool to tell anyone, too chic to confess? What personal correction have you received from Holy Scripture today? Did you read your Bible today? And how would anyone ever know unless you told them? The Bible says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16). Would you like prayer for you personally? If so, then "confess your faults" before all that others may pray for you.
Now is the time to get busy and put the oil of the Holy Spirit, the very Words of Holy Scripture, into the lamp of your lips. The apostle Paul tells all ten virgins: "But speaking the truth in love, [that you] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Eph 4:15). Are you growing "up into him in all things?" Are you "speaking the truth in love?"
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."